Saturday, September 17, 2016

Rio Paralympics 2016: Iranian Para-cyclist dies after crash

The International Paralympic Committee said Bahman Golbarnezhad, 48, suffered cardiac arrest after the incident on a "mountainous stretch" of circuit.

"The ambulance then diverted to the nearby Unamed Rio Hospital in Barra where he passed away soon after arrival," a statement added.

An investigation into the circumstances of the accident has been launched.

The Iranian flag has been lowered to half-mast in the Paralympic Village and a period of silence will be observed during Sunday's closing ceremony.

Golbarnezhad's death is the first in-competition fatality at a summer/winter Olympics or Paralympics since Danish cyclist Knud Enemark Jensen in the 100km team time trial at the 1960 Rome Games.

Saturday's race began at Pontal and included the Grumari circuit used in the Rio Olympics road races.

The Vista Chinesa circuit - which included a treacherous descent where Annemiek van Vleuten of the Netherlands crashed and sustained concussion during the Olympics - was not part of the Paralympic course.

According to the IPC, Golbarnezhad was involved in a crash at around 10:40 local time on the first section of the Grumari loop, a mountainous stretch of the course.

He received treatment at the scene and was in the process of being taken to the athlete hospital when he suffered cardiac arrest.

Bahman Golbarnezhad (left, chasing South Africa's Dane Wilson) in action earlier in Saturday's race
IPC president Sir Philip Carven said: "This is truly heart-breaking news and the thoughts and condolences of the whole Paralympic movement are with Bahman's family, friends, and team-mates as well as the whole of the National Paralympic Committee of Iran.

"The Paralympic family is united in grief at this horrendous tragedy, which casts a shadow over what have been great Paralympic Games here in Rio."

This was Golbarnezhad's second race at the Rio Paralympics, after finishing 14th in the C4 time-trial race on Wednesday.

Golbarnezhad, from the city of Shiraz in southern Iran, also participated in the London 2012 Paralympic Games, having taken up the sport in 2002.  May his soul rest in peace.

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